The Republican Party of Kentucky has asked the state's county clerks to review and verify the signatures that Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson filed to get on the ballot.
State GOP chairman Steve Robertson told the Herald-Leader on Thursday that Republicans found "clearly fictitious and fabricated names," citing an example of a signature belonging to a purported voter named "Ben Dover" who listed his address as an obscene phrase.
In a letter to county clerks, Robertson asked the clerks to verify the names and addresses of people who signed a petition in favor of Patterson getting on the ballot with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
When informed of the challenge, Patterson told the Herald-Leader that he and the Libertarian Party of Kentucky, which led the petition effort, had gone through 9,000 "raw" signatures matching up names and addresses. Of those, more than 5,700 were found to be "good signatures."
At least 5,000 valid signatures of registered voters are needed to get on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Patterson said he was not surprised that Republicans challenged his signatures.
"That's fine. They're going to do what they feel like they need to do," Patterson said. "All I know is it's going to be in vain, because we took all the necessary precautions to make sure it was legitimate."
Polling has indicated that Patterson, a Harrodsburg police officer, takes away relatively equal numbers of supporters from McConnell and Grimes.
Robertson said the GOP just wants to make sure that any candidate on the ballot is there legally.
"Based on the filing for this candidate, we believe very strongly that this is not the case," Robertson said.
The GOP asked county clerks to act quickly, because there's little time until ballots for the Nov. 4 election must be printed.
Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State, certified the candidates' names to the county clerks on Aug. 25, according to her office. Clerks have until Sept. 15 to print the ballots.
"It's a pretty tight time frame," Robertson acknowledged.
Sam Youngman: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @samyoungman. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.